Huawei’s next move, Facebook’s privacy pivot, Antarctic icequakes

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Huawei’s chairman makes his next move. Guo Ping has scheduled a press conference after an unusually high-profile global PR offensive. The Chinese telecom maker is demanding the release of CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is being held in Canada at the request of the United States.

The European Central Bank props up the euro zone. The central bank is expected to cut its growth outlook, which would set the stage for fresh stimulus measures. The ECB only ended quantitative easing in December.

The UN censures Saudi Arabia. The Human Rights Council, led by Iceland, will call on the kingdom to release jailed activists and cooperate with a UN probe into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Iceland joined the HRC when the United States withdrew.

While you were sleeping

Mark Zuckerberg vowed to shift Facebook toward “private” messaging. The social media CEO said the company would emphasize encrypted and ephemeral communication on Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, instead of the shared social posts that built the company. Messages will be safe from “hackers and overreaching governments,” Zuckerberg said—though he said little about Facebook’s own data collection.

The US trade deficit ballooned to a record high. The 2018 trade deficit was $621 billion, $100 billion higher than the figure president Donald Trump inherited from Barack Obama. Economists say US consumers shouldered the full impact of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods.

Amazon ended its pop-up retail experiment. The company said it would close all 87 of its pop-up stores (paywall), which have sold devices like Alexa speakers and Kindle e-readers in malls and grocery stores since 2014. Amazon will instead shift toward expanding its branded book and “four-star” stores, which feature selected top-rated goods from

Disgraced celebrity chef Mario Batali sold his restaurants. A year after several women accused Batali of sexual misconduct, his former business partner Joe Bastianich bought out his interest in their restaurant group (paywall) for an undisclosed price. The company said Batali “will no longer profit from the restaurants in any way, shape or form.”

Microsoft said Iranian hackers are conducting “massively destabilizing” attacks. Researchers tallied up hundreds of millions of dollars in losses (paywall) at thousands of targets, including oil companies, machinery manufacturers, and conglomerates in Saudi Arabia, Germany, the UK, India, and the US.


We continue our examination of Brexit with an essay from Eshe Nelson that channels Joni Mitchell: You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. The UK is hoping to reach an agreement with the EU that will protect access to the continent, while also maintaining British sovereignty and independence. In other words: very much the same agreement the country and the union have had for decades.

In Tipping Points, Allison Schrager looks at the economics of digital fitness coaches, and how telepresence and mobile technologies may allow fewer workers to serve more people. And in other money coverage, we have a close look at Lyft’s forthcoming IPO and whether investors should buy into the ride-hailing company.

Quartz Obsession

Jet streams: The powerful rivers of wind whipping high above the Earth deliver droughts and snowstorms. They both aid and impede modern air travel, and played a key role in WWII. But thanks to climate change, their effects may be getting more unpredictable.

Matters of debate

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Goldman Sachs’ new “flexible” dress code is not as easy-going as it sounds. Picking “appropriate” attire is easy only if you’re privileged.

Recycling is failing. Contaminated waste and China’s refusal to accept trash are making it increasingly expensive to be environmentally friendly.

Mark Zuckerberg has a different definition of “privacy” than you and me. Facebook’s new privacy plan conveniently sidesteps the need to protect user data.

Surprising discoveries

Sleep enables our nerve cells to recharge. They can’t repair DNA damage when we’re awake.

Hollywood got asteroid demolition all wrong. Hitting giant space rocks with foreign objects leaves their massive cores intact.

Antarctica has “icequakes” every summer. Temperature swings cause thousands of explosions as ice contracts and expands.

A German gardener allegedly committed murder from beyond the grave. Two days after he was found dead from unknown causes, two people were injured and one was killed by his booby traps.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, realistic science fiction movie plots, and alternative recycling plans to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written and edited by Adam Pasick and Holly Ojalvo.